Chapter 10. A minority group was attacking Paul’s authority to spread the Gospel as well as his Character. Anyway, some were saying “Your letters are strong and bold but in person you are not that great”. By the way, this will not be the last time we hear the word Meek (vs 1) so I want to define it. Meekness is NOT weakness. Meekness is about being gentle, humble and controlled. I think too often our passion for Jesus or the Gospel to the unbelievers can actually be brought too harshly. So think of what Paul is saying, he may know it and write about it boldly, but bringing it face to face should be done kindly (bold but gentle).
Chapter 11: Paul then says I hate to have to do this but let me tell you all I have done for you! Can you feel his anger. While they are sitting there, now remember this week we talked about this church being a people who party and drink during holiday rather than spend the time in the Scriptures and in worship (is that a kick in the teeth for us or what!) He then tells us what it is really like to be on “Mission” for them. Let me ask you, after reading the second half of Chapter 11, and the way they are treating Paul, if you were Paul would you have given up?? Or would you visit a third time?
Chapter 12. WOW. Paul then says there is the earthly man in me (that is the part I am talking about) and then there is the part of me that Christ is so very real. God has shown Paul a part of Heaven. Even Paul cannot understand or explain it. I am sure God did this to keep the spirit (lower case) alive in Paul on the hard times he was facing. Think about when we are in a trial, God will just bring us that one person, or that one thing to let us know He is with us.
Paul, as many know, suffered from an extremely painful, and debilitating disease (thorn in his side). Through all this he has not even mentioned it! Some say it may have to do something with his eyes that not just affected his eye sight but may have distorted his face too. We do not know why God does what He does but trust me everything He does has a reason.
Chapter 13. Well? Have you ever questioned your Salvation? Ever ask yourself “Am I really saved” I used to a lot. Paul says “Test yourselves, Not test God”, but Test yourselves and see that the Spirit is in you. Do you have fruit on the vine?
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Let me tell you one reason why I don’t like to blog. There is a lot of personal message here that the Holy Spirit lays on us and I get nervous that I will write something and it will derail you. These chapters are about how WE as CHristians need to live on the outside as well as on the inside as CHRISTIANS. Here are just a few questions that came out of it for me:
- Am I yoked with unbelievers? relationships, in business, friends, family?
- Do I give in everything else like my time, my gifts, my knowlege…and then fall short in giving in money. God says we are to give as according to what we have, not what we don’t have.
I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. 2 Cor 8:8-9.
According to your means, what do you give? Time, goods, service…Not because He commands it, but because you are compelled to!
For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. 2 Cor 5:14-15
Must we be reminded that ALL we do is for His Glory. Check your heart as to WHY maybe you do something and last…don’t announce it to the world but keep it between you and the Lord.
You have to know all that is going on with Paul to write such an intense letter! He sent the first letter. Evidently there was another letter that was also sent. Paul has no idea the effect these letters might have on the church in Corinth. Did it anger them? Help them? Comfort them? Evidently, Paul had a brief visit and it did not go so well . Maybe it was the man who was having an incest relationship that Paul told the church to excommunicate. He then, is in another city and he is supposed to meet Titus, his personal friend and messenger of the letters, and Titus no shows. Oh the Horror! Remember they are in times of extreme persecution. Just carrying such a letter is reason to torture and kill Titus. Finally, Paul reunites with Titus. During all that Paul is suffering his own trials and anguish…so now as you read this letter know the LOVE Paul has for the seeded churches that are planted in such horrible cities.
Through all these trials, Paul has experienced a Comfort that only God provides in such times, He also has readability to what the people of Corinth are going through. I am just letting you know I am not a major underliner but I think I went through a whole pen on just these 4 chapters. I am thinking we should come back and just study this book!
Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. 2 Cor 1:21
I want to take 2 seconds on 2 Cor 2:14-17. Regarding the term “Aroma” of Christ is on us. Maybe you have seen this in the movies like Gladiator but the Romans would parade their prisoners of war or captives through the town after a victory. Huge incense would be burned. To some, that smell would be beautiful, a smell of victory but to the ones that were prisoners that smell meant they were going in the Gladiator Den or Prison. The incense was a smell of death. My friend chose verse 17 as a tag line for a ministry called Operation Crazy Love. May we be the sweet smell of Christ to those we are helping. A smell of hope and comfort. However, know that to the lost and unbelieving we will smell like death because compared to us (eternally) that is the difference. (that is why we offend the lost just being in the room)
Paul then continues about his “credentials”. There were men walking around with papers declaring their importance in status and felt Paul needed to prove himself worthy to Preach and witness to the people. Paul lets them know that our “letter of recommendation” is on our hearts! Our lives are the testimony. And Paul says it PERFECTLY!
I personally think Chapters 3 and 4 might be in my top 5 readings in the whole bible. I remember where I was the first time I read them actually a few years ago. I was numb (and confused). I was lucky enough to call a neighbor who dropped everything and walked me through them. If any of the Glory/Veil/ Stuff is swirling in your head let me know. I actually assume most of you know more than me on the NT so I don’t know what to write on sometimes.
Ever put something out there…and then wonder how it was received? Well that is what happened to Paul. He wrote the letter we called 1 Corinthians to the Church in Corinth and it was pretty straight forward. I mean, he didn’t fluff it up at all. Then Paul was worried about how the church received the letter. (I know the feeling) So paul sent his friends Titus to get the scoop. Titus comes back with good news and bad news.
- The good news is the letter was received very well from the believers in Corinth.
- The bad news is they were questioning the authority of Paul. (ummm ever look at someone’s name under a bible study offer and think “uhhhhhh…her? What can I learn under her?”).
Anyway, same thing here. See Paul was NOT one of the original 12 disciples. Even after Judas the replacement was Matthias, not Paul. He never sat with Jesus. He never learned from Jesus. So what makes Paul a credible source? Well, what makes any of us credible?
This is actually the 3rd letter. If you paid attention to the first letter you can see Paul kep saying “As I told you” but I am not sure what happened to that letter (God does).
So this letter is written again to Corinth (thus the name 2 Corninthains…your quick…ha ha) and it is about a year after the first letter. If I was estimating the timeline we are about 28ish years after the Resurrection.
read Chapter 15 out loud! Whoosh that was great. The only thing that separates us from all the false religions in the world is….The Resurrection. All religions have a Book, a Prophet, a Messiah, and a Death. Only Christ has the Resurrection. The purpose of Paul’s writing was to let them know that they were only following half the Gospel.
Here are some modern-day Resurrection options:
- A Great Hoax
- Jesus was not totally dead
- His Spirit returned, not His body
- The disciples hallucinated
- The body was stolen
- They went to the wrong tomb
- The story was fabricated for profit
- Mistaken Identity
(I was an atheist for 33 years people…I know them all)
Number 10 is Jesus was raised from the dead, historically and bodily, by the supernatural power of God as according to the Scriptures (1 Cor 15:3)
The question is NOT did Jesus die for our sins, the question is DiD He Conquer Death with the Resurrection.
“let us eat and drink for tomorrow we die” (a line used in a lot of movies), in other words “Life is short…do whatever you want to be happy while you are here”. If you are in a circle of friends that live like this…Get out of that cirlce…”Bad company corrupts good character”.
- Spiritual Gifts
- Prophecy and Tongues
It is fitting that Paul would write about Spiritual Gifts and then after that talk about the Body of Believers coming together with our differences. This is not the full list of Spiritual Gifts given by the Lord but the ones that were most given at the time of this church.
Then we read probably one of the most popular readings in a modern wedding ceremony. Read 1 Corinthians in the context that it is written this time (maybe for the first time). It was not written for marriage, it was written for life. God is saying through Paul, you can have all the talent and gifts in the world but without Love they are pointless. Example, have you ever worked with the homeless, or the less privileged? The condemned? The unsaved? You can come into their life with all the wisdom, giving, knowlwdge…you want but if you don’t come in with LOVE toward them, it was a waste of your time. And let me tell you it is HARD! People who don’t know the Lord ACT like they don’t know the Lord. So how do we treat others, especially the ones that don’t deserve it. WHy do I say the ones that don’t deserve it….we have read several times Jesus desires Mercy from us…Mercy means love for the undeserved. So what does that look like to Jesus? We treat that person with patience. We are kind to them. We do not boast about ourselves, or in our heart are proud. We are not rude to others or self-seeking. We are self-controlled in our anger, and we don’t keep track of someones errors. We protect them, and we trust them. KNOWING that Love will not fail. Tending to someone in any other way, other than the above may fail.
Tongues and Prophecy. A topic that makes many of us uncomfortable because we don’t understand or believe it. Church then was not like it is today. There was no central meeting place often, there were no Lifeway Beth Moore Classes, heck there was not even a BIBLE! SO what did they talk about? How did they know what to talk about? How did an unbeliever come in and know what they were talking about? How did the church grow without a Bible to consult? Prophesying was speaking with a message from the Lord. In other words, a Spirit driven conversation. God would use people with the Gift of speaking to speak Truth and Preach in the name of Jesus. Prophezizing is still a major gift today and many of those gifted people may become pastors, or ministy workers, counselors, even authors. God Inspired SPeaker.
Tongues. I know what you are thinking? What in the World is this? Is it real? Fake? Today? Back then only? Seriously?
Here is my 2 cents on it. Ready? ok…Yes it is real! How do I know…IT’S IN THE BIBLE. But what it is and why is it? picture being Paul and going to a foreign country that never saw Jesus do miracles, never knew Jesus, did not see the resurection….etc. And then goes into their town and Preach repentance and a New lifestyle without “proof” of the Messiah. Well speaking in Tongues is a proof of the Holy Spirit, just like on the day of Pentecost. When Paul spoke in Tongues it was for the UNBELIEVER to hear and say “Holy Cow…that is supernatural!” and begin to inquire and learn in the church. Tongues does not edify the Lord in any way. Preaching the Word of God (prophecy) does. Speaking in tongues was a SIGN for the unbelievers to know that Paul was with God, Immanuel, inside him in the form of the Holy Spirit.
So what about today? Well, Yes I believe in it. I believe God can do anything He wants. DO I think it is done today from the Lord? Well, we have the written Word, soooooo not sure why God would need to have someone speak in tongues. But if He does, well he says it is for a specific reason, it is done for the unbeliever, and interpretation will be given. I did see it once and I am certain it was FAKE. It had no biblical backing to it whatsoever. It was in a church (not what God said), it was a women (not what God said) and no one interpreted it(Not what God said). However, if I have been in a setting with sound doctrine, (not cult like) Yes I would believe in Tongues.
Does anyone need clarification of the Woman in church thing? I know I got a bunch of strong women thinking…
I don’t want you to only love half of what God says in the Bible I want you to LOVE every single word. Sooo I after you read today I want you to openly discuss anything that made your right eyebrow to go up. Deal? People who have never read the Bible or have only read parts have caused the WORLD to take scriptures out of context rather than reading the whole chapter, (or sometimes just the whole paragraph). You HAVE TO get all this. This is not like listening to a President election speech where you can only clap at the parts that you like. You need to AMEN all of this today. Ok?
Chapter 9: Let me break this down real easy: have you ever thought “Ohhh my G. Look at the pastor’s car? Can you believe the staff all have houses in nice sub-divisions? I mean c’mon. If they were really dedicated to the church they would live humbly, not take all the money from he church for their own life, they would give it to the poor.”
Read Chapter 9. Why should people who work for the church be any different than the standard of living of the congregation? Why should they be any less? WHy don’t we turn the mirror on ourselves and say “I am a christian JUST LIKE THEM, why am I not living in less so I can feed the poor? Cmon people, if it’s good enough for us…it should be good enough for them. It is extremely biblical from the beginning of time that those who work as a profession for the Lord should be compensated just like everyone else.
verse 19-23 was a very very personal Word for me. I am very stubborn and I do not like adhering to the ways of “church” if it does not necessarily line up biblically. I fight it. For example, in order to serve in youth ministry I had to commit to certain things. Did I agree with it? Not all of it. But here is the deal, vs 23 “I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings”. Even though I am not under the “Law” of my denomination, in order for God to spread His Gospel, I had to be more like them, THEN God can use me for His Glory. What are you letting your “earthly” feelings stop youi from doing for the sake of the Gospel?
Chapter 10. WOW. I loves history! There are actually 2 separate events here and I would LOVE for you to take the extra time maybe later to read both the stories. One of my Passions is for people to read the Old Testament NOT to understand the New Testament better but to understand GOD better. Click on the below readings. Click the bible address for the Bible Reading then click the word blog if you need some help with it to go to the blog post that was on it.
Chapter 11. Public Worship. If any of this confuses you PLEASE speak up. ALSO, do not just read a few scriptures, read the WHOLE text, Paul clarifies woman’s EQUALITY here. Here is my 2 minute sermon on the public thing. You are your husbands wife. Fact. When you wear something inappropriate you are dishonoring your husbands AS WELL as the Lord. Fact. In the context of the time period, just because some ladies chose not to cover their hair (a huge custom), and they were free in Christ not to, it disrespected their husband. Modern day example, just because you are free in Christ to wear a tight shirt or jeans too tight….DON”T! Ya hoochie mamma! It disrespects your husband and the Lord.
My last comment today is regarding the last supper. I found the whole half chapter on it interesting because back then they would “Feast” while taking the last supper and when they did they would eat and drink inappropriately (what does your Christmas holiday look like in retrospect…I am just saying). But the part that got me was the Phrase: Man ought to examine himself before he eats the bread and drink of the cup. I think too often people (or religions) take the Communion TO BE right with the Lord. Actually, we are supposed to take it BECAUSE we are right with the Lord (or not at all). Let me put it to you this way, if you are living in sin and know it…we are NOT to take the Eucharist. It is a SIN to take it under those circumstances.
How do we really think of sin? Do we think less of it since we live on a Forgiven Side of the Cross? Well we might, but God never changes on it. As you read this keep in mind that there is no “building” yet called “the church”. Scatterings of small groups congregated in places or homes to discuss such topics. Paul is letting them know much of what they think the Cross means is wrong. For example, in 6:12 Is everything “Permissable?” They assumed since the SIN was forgiven that it was “ok” now. Ummmmm do we think the same way?
Chapter 5: “DOn’t you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough?” Yeast is symbolic of sin. It is remembered at the Passover Festival when they Feast on bread without yeast in it. (today called Matzah)
Chapter 6: Lawsuits among believers. If both sides were truly following Jesus…why would there be a lawsuit worthy of a pagan court decision? And Sexual immorality, listen, God thinks no less of the sin of immoral sex than when he did since the beginning of time.
Chapter 7: CHristian Marriage. Remember when reading today that Paul is writing to the CHRISTIANS. We are His people, His children, and all these letters we are reading are pertaining to us. SO if you have any questions in your heart I am certain that these letters and the next few weeks will for sure give you guidance.
Chapter 8: Food sacrificed to idols. This is not just about buying meat in the marketplace that was improperly offered this is about Social Gatherings. It is about setting an example. Read the last verse, it is not about us not eating meat, it is about setting the example: if the social and “intake” you are visiting is not to the Lord’s standards THEN be a light!
I could have thrown a dart on the page and spent an hour on where ever it landed. I read Chapter 1 and thought…did I underline the whole chapter or what!
The church did not have the written New Testaments yet. So listening to a great preacher and not “following” him was difficult. The church in Corinth was divided into 4 “cliques”:
- Followers of Apollos,
- Cephas (Peter),
- Christ and
- Paul himself
(no different from today…we mask this with Denominational Following “Oh, we are ______, we believe in something different”. NO DIFFERENT! . But here is the next BIG topic on the table: The Cross. As Paul says it was their stumbling block. What does that mean? Here are the views regarding Jesus death
- The Jews expected the Messiah to restore the throne of David. A political king. A royal! They saw him as a criminal on the Cross.
- The Greeks did not believe in the resurrection. See the Greeks were followers of powerful Greek gods and goddesses.
They both considered death on the Cross weak and Defeat. We as believers see the Power of the Cross. The death and Resurrection was the Victory over Satan and death. Does everyone get this, even the most intelligent men on the planet?? No. Why? because it is a heart issue, not a head issue.
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
Paul says it will frustrate the intelligent. I urge you to watch the movie “Expelled” with Ben Stein and hear the Darwinist’s try to explain their own foundation. Even they trip over their stupid theories.
Chapter 2: The Spirit. Do you fully understand that He has given us this FREE GIFT (vs 12) of the Spirit. I think of it like this, you don’t know how good a GPS is until you have it and get lost. Once you have it…you can’t move forward without it. Can you picture driving across country without a GPS (or any kind of map). Frustrating isn’t it! The Spirit is YOUR GPS (if you have the Spirit…and second, if you choose to power it up)
Chapter 3. The Division in the CHurch (IN the Church). Listen, there is no “religious” hierarchy. God is telling us that the Church is making levels in the church and that is wrong. We are ALL equal. We aer all the Temple to the Spirit, and lifting one man up over another is WRONG in the site of the Lord. (I grew up under this false Doctrine…so I am touchy about it). If you are a follower you are EQUAL, exalting a man takes the exalt of the Christ in you.
Chapter 4. True Apsolseship? Why is God writing this book for us? Every book needs to be approached with that. Why did God want us to know this?
This is so cool. See up to now we have read about the letters written to the Churches, even the General letters and they all regarded the “outside” factors that affect the church. For example, the persecution or the false teachings that were going on in the world. This time we are reading about the “inside” of the church and the troubles they are having. This book is as modern as the day it was written. (uhh they all are)
First, the city of Corinth, was a rich town just outside Athens. Consisting of about 300,000 free citizens with 450,000 slaves by the 2nd Century (yes, read that again…very wealthy city). Theaters would hold about 14,ooo and many many pagan worships went on, including the 1000 high end prostitutes in the city limits. The temple in town was a temple for Aphrodite, the love goddess! Cleary sexual immorality is a huge part of the lifestyle. The city was best know for the beauty and sexuality of the woman, they all attained to look like Greek Goddesses. (We call this city Hollywood here).
So while Paul was in Ephesus, 2 things happen.
- One, he receives a report that the Church in Corinth had party divisions, has a known case of incest going on, there were court cases between members, they were abusing the “freedom” in Christ, and general chaos including poor respect for the Lord’s Supper.
- Second, he received a letter from them on advice concerning marriage, problems over food and social functions held at church, proper prayer, spiritual gifts and finally the true meaning of the Resurrection.
So Paul is going to write back and address the Churches of Corinth, and they will be called 1 and 2 Corinthians
We will be in both 1 and 2 Corinthians for eight days (It’s going to be good!). Here is the schedule: